Our top preapproval picks for you
- SoFi offers an all-digital lending platform with online application and loan tracking
- Offers a variety of mortgage products, including jumbo and interest-only loans
- No application, origination or other lender fees
- Read our SoFi Mortgage review
- Quicken Loans is the largest FHA lender in the nation
- Has a 1% down payment program for qualified buyers
- Rocket Mortgage, Quicken's new offering, allows you to complete the process entirely online and gives a loan decision in minutes
- Read our Rocket Mortgage review
- Offers purchase and refi loans, as well as FHA, VA, and USDA loans
- Will match the lowest rate or give customers $1,000
- No origination or application fees
- Read our Amerisave Mortgage review
A mortgage preapproval letter can put you head and shoulders above other buyers who may be interested in the same home as you. Getting preapproved will help you find a mortgage lender who can work with you to find a home loan with an interest rate and other terms suited to your needs.
NerdWallet has researched the major national mortgage lenders to help you quickly find the best one. We recommend comparison shopping with at least three lenders to get a complete picture of your options.
Why should I shop multiple lenders?
In a 2015 report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 77% of consumers apply to only one lender when seeking a mortgage. By shopping just three different lenders, borrowers could save more than $3,500 in just the first five years, according to the CFPB’s research, and, in one example, enjoy payments that are nearly $60 less per month.
By applying to several lenders rather than just one, you can compare all-in costs and get the best deal.
What is a mortgage preapproval and why does it matter?
A mortgage preapproval letter shows that a lender has evaluated your financial history and figured out how much of a loan you can qualify for. Consulting with a lender early in the home buying process is important so you can get a sense of your true budget, talk about different loan options and spot any potential issues with your credit profile in time for you to course-correct. Once you know your budget it will be easier for you to shop within your means and find a home you can afford.
A preapproval letter shows you’re a serious buyer and can be the key to closing on your new home because when you’re ready to make an offer, the seller knows you have financing ready and you’ll be able to go through with the sale, which makes you a much more attractive buyer.